What is Bursitis and How Can I Manage it?

What is Bursitis and how can I manage it?

Bursitis is a common problem that many Australians face in their day to day lives, it can be diagnosed through an ultrasound.

Bursitis may be a common problem but it can be managed by the support of an Accredited Health Professional such as a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist.

What is a Bursa?

Bursae are little fluid filled sacks which are found all throughout the body and are responsible for helping to decrease the friction between bones and other tissues, such as tendons and muscles. When the joint moves, the bones or tendons slide over the bursa providing cushioning.

Shoulder bursitis

What is Bursitis?

The suffix –itis relates to inflammation, therefore bursitis is inflammation of the bursae. The most common causes of bursitis are long standing repetitive, overuse injuries.

Common sites of bursitis include but are not limited to Subacromial (tip of the shoulder), greater trochanteric (side of the hip), olecranon (elbow), anserine and prepatellar (knee). Other causes of bursitis may be acute, such as a direct blow, or via infection.

Signs and symptoms of bursitis include warmth, tenderness, swelling, and pain with movement. Other pathologies such as tendonitis and impingement syndromes may also be associated with bursitis.

Bursa Bursitis

So how can a Physiotherapist help?

Treatment for bursitis initially includes resting the affected area, modifying aggravating activities and controlling swelling. While not as effective in the long run, short term treatments which are often considered for bursitis include the use of corticosteroid injections, electrotherapy modalities, heat/ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.

Following initial rest, returning to full pain-free range of motion, rehabilitation of muscle activation and strengthening the surrounding muscles of the affected area can help alleviate the area of trouble. Evidence has shown that physiotherapy can help decrease pain in the long term by addressing and targeting these areas.

StudioXphys Physiotherapist Ryan Lynd states “if you are experiencing pain with movement around your upper/lower limbs restricting your day to day activities. I would highly recommend seeing your GP and seeking the advice of an accredited Physiotherapist who can help you maintain a life with full function and ultimately pain-free”.

Written by,

Boyd Fleming



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